Welcome back to The Good Place. Except it’s not the Good Place (never was). Or the Bad Place (unless you’ve been watching the news over the last two years). It’s our place. That said, I’m still not sold on the fact that we’re really back in the real world. Michael Schur and co have delighted in repeatedly convincing us of one thing then convincing us that it’s something else, before revealing that actually it’s neither. For a half hour comedy show on a mainstream network, that’s pretty ballsy and just one of the many elements that make The Good Place the best comedy series on TV right now.
So, a quick catch up: when we last saw the bad-but-getting-better quartet of Eleanor, Tahani, Chidi and Jason, they had been condemned to the Bad Place by Judge Gen (a knock-out awesome Maya Rudolph). Michael made a last-ditch effort to save them from eternal damnation, convincing Judge Gen that they could be redeemed if they were sent back to Earth to pick up where they left off. If they could just find each other, they could become the better people they became after death. Season two ended with Michael saving all of them from their original deaths and then appearing, bar towel over his shoulder, to cunningly direct a lost again Eleanor into Chidi’s office in Australia.
But it hasn’t really panned out the way Michael and Janet hoped. Sure, Chidi and Eleanor are together again, but he’s in love with nerdy scientist Simone (played with no end of adorably goofy charm by Kirby Howell-Baptiste) and still can’t make a decision. Tahani gave up her name-droppy, hideously wealthy existence to go and live in a Buddhist monastery in Tibet, only to wind up even more name-droppy and hideously wealthy to the point where the Dalai Lama is texting her inspirational quotes and her book on how to vanish from the spotlight has sold millions of copies and prompted Cormac McCarthy to give up writing. Jason interpreted his escape from the safe (where he originally died) as a message that he needed to take his dance troupe Dance Dance Resolution seriously, only to lose every single competition and return to his disastrous life of crime.
So Michael manages to con his way back to earth again (charming his way past the doorman who guards the portal between this world and the next via a reusable coffee cup with a frog on it) and orchestrate a way to get everyone back in the same place. His guises are pretty amazing across the board, but knowing that Jason couldn’t resist a talent scout named Zack Pizzazz is inspired. So, Michael has managed – under the auspices of Chidi and Simone’s project about people who survived near-death experiences – to get the band back together, but the kicker is that Shaun (the ever-wonderful Marc Evan Jackson) has been trying to track them all this time. He finally breaks through, right as they all link up again in Australia, sending a fifth person for Chidi’s study. “Everyone, this is Trevor”. Dun dun dunnnnn.
Chidi gets his blueberry muffins from We Crumb From A Land Down Under, just one more in the long list of fantastic restaurant names in this series and one that suggests (to me at least) that we’re still in the Bad Place. The AV Club has a great list of all the restaurant puns from the entire series to date.
Eagle-eyed viewers will spot an ad for Tahani’s sister’s movie in the background when Eleanor narrowly avoids getting run over by a truck advertising ‘Engorgulate’ erectile dysfunction pills.
Tahani doesn’t just have Bono and The Edge’s phone numbers, she also has The Edge’s secret number that even Bono doesn’t have.